Mandarin (Chinese) for the Mainland Flag of China

Table Designator


This is the technical description of a DBT Translation table. If you want more general information about languages and template choices, please see the list of templates.

Initially, the language table for braille translation is determined by the selected template, and may be changed using the Document / Translation Tables menu. Using those menus does not require use of the table designator. However, to switch to a different translation table partway through a file, one must enter a DBT code and the designator for the table to switch to. For switching secondary languages within a base language table, see the [lng~X] command. For switching from one base language to another, see the [lnb~...] command.

Functional Summary

The Mandarin tables support print-to-braille translation of Mandarin-language literary text into uncontracted Mandarin braille.

Uncontracted English is also supported. Technical (mathematics and computer) notation is generally transcribed as in Unified English Braille (UEB).

Special Requirements and Limitations

Although DBT Win DBT 11.1 and later are able to display accented letter combinations and many non-Roman scripts, it is nevertheless often more convenient to use Microsoft Word for entering and editing print text, which can then be imported into DBT for subsequent translation. When preparing the text in Word, be sure to use a Unicode font (such as Lucida Sans or the default Times Roman), so that the underlying characters are encoded in Unicode.(Note that the appearance on screen is not the issue. Fonts that merely cause standard ASCII characters to be displayed as the desired accented or non-Roman letters will not work, because they will be imported according to their standard interpretation, not their appearance.)

True braille-to-print (i.e.reverse) translation is not supported. This means that it is not generally useful to translate a Mandarin braille file to print. It also means that the "translated line" does not work when viewing the braille file. You may prefer to turn off the "translated line" under the View menu, or even under Global/Default if you wish it to be off by default.

Note: The Han (ideographic) characters of the Chinese, Japanese, and Korean languages share a common code-space in Unicode. The Han characters are converted to an appropriate alternate script form to translate a document into braille. DBT does this conversion during the importation of a Han-based file into DBT (from MS Word or OpenOffice). Normally, Duxbury DBT selects the correct language-script according to the template that the user selected prior to importing the document.

The conversion on import is controlled in the Global: Import Options dialog. By default, the "Choose script based on template selected" checkbox is checked. This greatly simplifies the file import process for almost all users. By unchecking that box, the radio buttons under "Default language for Han script" can be used instead to select which language script will be used.

Because of the script conversion, one should never try to cut and paste Han characters directly into DBT, but rather paste them into a Word or OpenOffice document and import them from there.

Secondary Languages Supported

Roman script is generally transcribed as in Unified English Braille (UEB).

There are no secondary languages supported within the Mandarin table itself. However, it is possible to switch to any of the available translation tables listed in DBT. (See the [lnb~...] code below.)

Technical Braille Codes Supported

Technical (mathematics, computer, or scientific) notation is generally transcribed as in Unified English Braille (UEB). It is also possible to switch to any of the available translation tables listed in DBT (see the [lnb~...] code below), many of which do support various technical codes, such as for mathematics or computer notation, or which support “unified” treatment of technical notation as well as literary text in the base language associated with the table.

Supported DBT Translation Codes

The following DBT translation codes are available when using the Mandarin table. Codes related to the entry of type forms, mathematics, etc. as in the English/Unified tables may also be used and will generally be treated in the same way. Any other translation codes used will be ignored, or indeed may cause unexpected results. If using an alternative translation table, i.e. when switching to another base language table by means of the [lnb~...] code, please refer to the relevant topic and available codes for that table.



[lnb~...] (for switching to another base [primary] language table)


[vrn] cancels any [vrn~tN] setting, restoring the normal "minimal" representation of tones.

[vrn~tN], where N is an integer between 0 and 3 inclusive, sets the level for the representation of tones. The meaning of these levels are as follows:

Characters Supported

The table is designed to work with the following groups of characters:

All ASCII printable characters

Mandarin letters and punctuation marks

Mathematical signs, shapes, etc. (DUSCI pages D+df..., D+e2..., D+e5..., D+ef..., D+f0..., D+f1...)

The above is a general guide only (see "General Notes" section under the main “Language Translation Tables” topic).

References, History and Credits

Mandarin braille is based on the Pinyin Romanization.when a Mandarin Microsoft Word file is imported into DBT, it is converted into Pinyin Romanization. The Microsoft Word importer into Pinyin Romanization is based on information from the Unihan project. The Unihan project does not appear to offer any information as to who provided the data for the Pinyin Romanization for each Unicode Chinese character. Duxbury Systems would like to offer their thanks to whoever did this work.

For guidance on how Pinyin is written (especially for the rules about the proper placement of accent marks) we used the Wikipedia article: This information guided Duxbury Systems while enhancing the DBT file importer to convert Chinese characters into standard Pinyin with appropriately placed tone marks (shown as accents on some of the vowels).

For information about how to turn Pinyin Romanization into braille, Duxbury used 4 different sources:

(Documentation reviewed June 2017)